15 Dec Sustainable agriculture: what it is and how Altamura OP has created it
Sustainable agriculture represents a new way of approaching the practice of cultivating the land. This is increasingly taking hold, involving companies in the sector that intend to keep up with the times in a real challenge. Briefly we can say that, to support not only the conceptual but also the practical framework of this type of agriculture, there are three pillars, three fundamental principles: respect for and conservation of environmental resources, support for the development of socially virtuous practices, application of an economic model in the name of equity. But how does it work? What are the methods of implementation? And, in Italy, can we really talk about the practice of sustainable agriculture? Below is a lot of useful information to answer these questions and learn more about them.
Fair and supportive: sustainable agriculture that looks to the future
When we talk about sustainable agriculture, also called integrated agriculture or eco-compatible agriculture, we are referring to an innovative way of farming, which has the characteristic of aiming at the protection, recovery and consolidation of a bond that is as unique and ancestral as it is delicate. and fragile, which exists between man and nature.
In reality, there is no single definition of sustainable agriculture. But it can be said that sustainable agriculture develops according to an agricultural production system that looks in two directions: to the needs of the present and those of the future, taking into account some substantially different ethical, environmental and economic principles and, at times, divergent , compared to the dominant ones.
The essence of this approach to the land is manifested in the practices, techniques and criteria that underpin it. From a purely environmental aspect, sustainable agriculture is that which follows the rhythms and processes dictated by nature. That is, when no use is made of chemical agents that are potentially polluting and harmful to the soil and, consequently, to crops and human health. It is sustainable agriculture, from a social and ethical point of view, that which satisfies the collective food needs and, at the same time, creates conditions aimed at improving the quality of life of all those involved in the supply chain: from the farmer to the consumer. And finally, it is sustainable agriculture, the one capable of creating, also from an economic point of view, the conditions for protecting those who make up the workforce for various reasons, guaranteeing fair conditions for all, both in terms of work and income.
It was the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) that established the five principles of sustainable agriculture:
- increase productivity, employment and added value in food systems, by changing agricultural practices and processes, ensuring food supplies and at the same time reducing water and energy consumption;
- protect and improve natural resources, promoting environmental conservation, reducing pollution, the destruction of habitats and ecosystems, preventing soil deterioration;
- improve livelihoods and foster inclusive economic growth;
- transform production models so as to minimize the impacts due to climate change;
- adapt governance to the new challenges of agriculture, ensuring a favorable legislative environment.
The main models of sustainable agriculture, which are based on these founding principles, are three: biodynamic agriculture, permaculture and organic agriculture. The first is developed keeping in mind the phases of the moon and what exists “inside” the earth, while the second aims to enhance biodiversity, respecting nature and the territory. Organic farming, on the other hand, now known to a public not only of professionals, but also to a slice of consumers aware and regulated by a series of regulations that guarantee its authenticity, aims to exploit the natural fertility of the soil, limiting external interventions as much as possible.
Sustainable agriculture in Italy: the revolution is underway
According to the AGRIcoltura100 report, produced by Cerved last year, sustainable agriculture in Italy is not only developed but, more and more, is taking root and evolving. This in the face of a growing and generalized interest in sustainability, at every level and in every area. Data collected by the Fieragricola-Nomisma Observatory, showing that the use of harmful fertilizers and pesticides finds less and less use not only in newly established agricultural businesses, but also in those that boast a ten-year presence in the sector, which are converting to practices and principles to minimize the environmental impact.
In contrast to this sort of revolution, in the approach to the cultivation of the land and of the men who practice it, however, there is a negative fact: due to the or negative: due to the price freeze and the parallel increase in the cost of raw materials, even in agriculture, planning new investments becomes very difficult. This is a situation to address which means of relaunching and supporting are being identified.
On the occasion of the G20 Agriculture, which on 18 and 19 September last saw the meeting of the Ministers of agriculture delegated by the member states and the delegates representing the organizations of farmers and international organizations and of entrepreneurs and agricultural entrepreneurs, the Charter of Florence for the Agriculture of the future. There are twenty-one points, relating to the themes of climate change, the fight against waste, the income support of farmers, food security, cooperation that must be the framework at the basis of a support system, economic and legislative, tense. to the transition of the agricultural system. From here the horizon of agriculture 4.0 seems to be closer and within reach.
Electric garden harvesting machines: sustainability is an invention
Beyond any possible incentive to the practice of sustainable agriculture, in the process of transition from a traditional farming system to a new way of approaching the cultivation of the land, a decisive role is played by businesses. It is, essentially, their will to change that constitutes the real lever, towards a reversal of direction with respect to the past. A will that manifests itself in the intuitions as well as in the choices of management method of a company, but also of the machinery used.
Experimentation and innovation: these are the main axes following which many companies, in recent years, have embraced principles, values and tools of sustainable agriculture, following new paths. This is the case of Altamura Op, which has implemented a series of strategies in the name of sustainability, literally overturning its system. All in the awareness that sustainability implies, in the first instance, a high economic cost but which, over time, guarantees the achievement of an equally high quality, producing healthier raw materials: a benefit for the company and, certainly, for everything. the reference sector.
In addition to a solar panel system that produces energy for the company and for the machinery it uses, Altamura has also chosen to equip itself with a zero-impact and zero-waste collection system. These are electric garden harvesting machines: much quieter than combustion machines, they guarantee not only greater respect for the environment but also a better quality of work for those who use them. This is how, in small steps, a real sustainable agriculture is created.